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How Many Legs Do I Need for My Lifting Sling?

When it comes to heavy loads, choosing the right lifting sling for the job is crucial. One key factor to consider is the number of legs needed for the sling. The number of legs refers to the number of branches that connect the load to the lifting device. A sling with more legs generally provides greater stability and control during lifting, but it's also heavier, more expensive, and a bit of an overkill if the excess legs don't contribute to the task at hand.

So how do you determine the right number of legs needed for your lifting sling? Read on to learn more about the different factors to consider, as well as a general guide on how to choose.


chain lifting sling with yellow end fittings

Factors to Consider for Lifting Sling Legs

There are several factors you should consider before choosing the number of legs for your lifting sling:

1. Load Weight & Shape

First off, you need to understand the weight and shape of the load being lifted. Generally speaking, the heavier the load, the more legs your lifting sling needs to provide adequate support and stability. This puts less strain on the legs as a whole, distributing the weight of the load across each branch. By doing this, the legs of your sling are less likely to buckle and potentially break.

Similarly, loads with irregular shapes or uneven weight distribution may require more legs to maintain balance during lifting. For example, if you lift heavy cylindrical items, then you probably need a sling that both accommodates the weight, as well as connects to the shape of the cargo appropriately to keep it from tipping, spinning, or harming the crane or other workers.

2. Sling Angle

The angle at which the sling is attached to the load and the lifting device is also an important factor to consider. When a lifting sling is at a 90-degree angle (vertical), the tension force is equal to the actual weight of the load. As the angle of the sling decreases, the load on each leg increases. Therefore, when lifting with a lower sling angle, it may be necessary to use a sling with more legs to distribute the load more evenly.

3. Lifting Height & Distance

The height and distance that the load needs to be lifted also impacts the number of legs needed for the sling. If the lift height is relatively low, then you may be able to use a single-leg sling; however, if that height increases, then it may be necessary to use a sling with more legs to ensure stability and control.

If the load needs to be moved a significant distance, then a sling with more legs may provide greater control and reduce the risk of swinging or shifting during transport.

4. Environmental Factors

The environment in which the lift is taking place can also impact the number of legs needed for your sling. For example, if the lift is taking place in an area with high winds, uneven terrain or other environmental hazards, then a sling with more legs may be necessary to keep the load secure.

5. Sling Material

Lastly, the type of lifting sling you use should be a major consideration. The material for one type of sling may have a different performance compared to other types of slings out there. It's important to understand the make of your sling and the types of loads that you can lift with them.

US Cargo Control offers 5 general types of lifting and rigging slings based on their construction and design. All types of lifting slings are made with the highest-quality materials and are proof-tested in accordance with each material's guidelines prior to shipment. The five types of slings include:


lifting sling with a large metal pipe

Comparing Legs for Lifting Slings

Once you considered these factors, then the next step is choosing the number of legs for your lifting sling. Generally you can find single-leg, double-leg, triple-leg, or quad-leg configurations. Each one is designed to cater to different types of loads, no matter what material lifting sling you use.

yellow nylon lifting sling with purple end fittings

Single Leg

A single-leg or 1-leg lifting sling offers simplicity and a direct connection between the load and the lifting device. Its design typically consists of a single leg or strap with an attachment point at one end and a lifting hook or loop at the other end. This direct connection provides a simple and easy-to-use sling suitable for lifting lighter loads with a more balanced weight distribution. However, it reduces the sling's stability and limited load capacity compared to multi-leg slings. This is not a sling suitable for lifting heavier or unbalanced loads due to its propensity to tilt or sway.

kwb double-leg chain sling

Double Leg

A double-leg or 2-leg lifting sling features two legs or straps that join at a common point, forming a "Y" shape or parallel configuration. These slings offer improved stability and load distribution compared to the single-leg sling, and are capable of handling heavier loads with a more balanced lift. These are fantastic for loads that have two anchor points on the end of a load or object, making for easy lifting.

However, careful adjustment and positioning of the legs are necessary, requiring more attention and care during setup. This is especially true when it comes to the load's weight as well as the angle of each leg.

triple-leg wire rope sling

Triple Leg

A 3-leg lifting sling further enhances stability and load distribution. With three legs, it offers even greater stability and can handle heavier loads and more awkwardly shaped loads with improved balance. The additional third leg gives a balanced lift that won't become as susceptible to tilting.

Just like with a double-leg sling, attention to the leg's adjustment is crucial. You normally lift heavier items with 3-leg slings, therefore the importance of proper connection and stabilization is paramount.

quad-leg chain sling from Crosby

Quad Leg

A 4-leg lifting sling provides maximum stability and load capacity by creating a square or rectangular configuration when lifting the load. These slings are capable of lifting extremely heavy or large loads, particularly for chain slings, as well as loads with uneven weight distribution.

Coordination of the legs to the load must be precisely done. More time should be spent on setting up your four-leg configuration.

Lifting Sling Leg Types




  • Direct connection
  • Ease of setup
  • Great for lighter, balanced loads
  • Can maneuver in tight spaces
  • More affordable
  • Reduced stability
  • Lower load capacity
  • Prone to tilting and swaying
  • Uneven load distribution
  • Limited versatility


  • Improved stability
  • Better balance for uneven loads
  • Best for heavier, awkward loads
  • Legs can accommodate different load shapes and sizes
  • Moderate maneuverability
  • Typically more expensive than 1-leg
  • Limited load distribution than 3-leg or 4-leg.


  • Enhanced stability
  • Improved load distribution
  • Higher weight capacity
  • Added security
  • Versatile
  • Setup complexity
  • Increased cost
  • Limited maneuverability
  • Operator expertise strongly recommended


  • Maximum stability
  • Highest load capacity
  • Enhanced load control
  • 4th leg in case one fails
  • Setup complexity
  • Higher cost
  • Low maneuverability
  • Increased weight and/or bulkiness
  • Operator expertise strongly recommended

Safety Tips for Lifting Slings

No matter what leg configuration you choose for your lifting sling, always follow safety measures put in place for each one. In general, you should always abide to the following guidelines:

  • Always connect to a stable anchor point. Make sure the sling is positioned and securely attached to the load by a reliable anchor point.
  • Inspect your sling before each use. Thoroughly inspect the lifting sling for any cuts, tears, abrasions, or broken stitching depending on the type of sling you choose. If you find any defects or damage, remove the sling from service and replace it.
  • Avoid shock loading. Try to prevent any sudden or jerky loading when lifting a load with your sling. This can put added stress on your sling, potentially exceeding its rated capacity and cause it to fail.
  • Communicate and Coordinate. Always establish clear communication with all personnel involved with the job. This helps prevent accidents and maintain control throughout the lifting process.

Custom Lifting Slings from U.S. Cargo Control

Of course, when it comes to lifting slings, there are many different types to choose from. Whether you're looking for a chain sling or one made of nylon webbing, you can rest assured you'll find the right one for your particular lifting needs with U.S. Cargo Control. And if not, then we'll make one that fits your needs! 

Below are the custom lifting sling pages:

You'll also want to keep your custom slings secured and protected from any and all kinds of harm with our sling protection products, available in a variety of fittings for different makes. Not only do they prolong the working life of your lifting sling, but they also protect your load from the sling itself during a job.

More Articles You May Like

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How USCC Creates High-Quality Custom Chain Slings

Nylon Slings 101

Sling Protection Available Through U.S. Cargo Control

Speak with one of our product experts if you have questions on our lifting and rigging products. Email us or call us directly at (866) 444-9990 today, and we will help you get what you want, when you need it.

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